Camping Gear

The playa is a harsh place, and you’re going to be living in the middle of it for a week. Investing a little effort into making your playa home comfortable is well worth it.


If you’re camping with us, you get to pitch your tent under our residential shade structure. It cuts 90% of UV, and provides substantial protection against wind and dust. Remember, though, we take down the shade cloth before our final night, so you’ll need something that can withstand the fury of the open playa.

Each person or couple gets a 10’ x 10’ space in the shade structure. Because of the way our support poles are set up, your tent needs to fit completely into exactly that space.

Things to think about when shopping for a tent:

  • You’ll spend a fair amount of time in your tent (as will all of your gear), and you’ll find that a large tent that lets you stand upright is much more comfortable than a small backpacking tent.
  • Winds on the playa can be severe: tents designed for casual camping will fail catastrophically during a playa windstorm.
  • The playa is very dusty. Be aware that if you have a tent with a mesh ceiling covered by a rain fly, the dust will have no trouble finding its way under the fly and into your tent. Canvas tents are ideal because they can be completely sealed.
  • Rain on the playa is rare, but it does happen.

Furnishing your tent

  • A ground cover under the tent is optional but will help protect it.
  • No matter what you do, your tent will end up full of playa. Consider a small broom or other playa removal device.
  • A small lantern will come in handy, especially if you can hang it inside your tent.
  • A small trash container is very useful.


You have a couple of options for bedding. No matter what you choose, remember that temperatures can drop into the 40s at night. From most to least luxurious:

  • An inflatable or memory foam mattress, with sheets and blankets.
  • A camp cot, possibly with a sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag.
  • A sleeping pad and sleeping bag.

Don’t forget:

  • A pillow.
  • You’re likely to do much of your sleeping during the day. Consider an eye mask to block out light.
  • Black Rock City is always noisy. Earplugs help tremendously. Test them for comfort beforehand.
  • If you need to pee in the middle of the night, you’ll need to get up, get dressed, and trek all the way to the porta-potties. Unless you have an empty gatorade bottle.
  • Covering your bed during the day will result in a much less dusty bed by the end of the week.
  • A folding camp chair.

Personal care

You’ll want to bring most of your usual personal care supplies. Remember that water is very scarce, and it’s important to minimize gray water.

  • Nail clippers.
  • Tooth brush.
  • Tooth paste.
  • Dental floss.
  • Deodorant.
  • A razor (electric is easier than bladed).
  • Any medications you need.
  • Feminine hygiene products.
  • Minor first aid kit.
  • Small mirror.
  • Shampoo.
  • Soap.

Personal protection

In addition, you’ll need to be prepared for the brutal playa environment. You’ll need sun protection, and unless you’re exquisitely careful about taking care of your feet, you’re likely to need some foot remedies also.

  • Sunscreen.
  • Sunburn treatment.
  • Lip balm.
  • Foot care products.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Moist towelettes.